Wherever you look in southwestern Pennsylvania, you’ll find innovators, artists, makers, and others launching a life-changing project. In Hazelwood, they’re fusing biology and manufacturing to develop groundbreaking cures for disease. In the North Side, they’re building a dazzling new hub for the arts (and training tomorrow’s creative workers while they’re at it). In Oakland and beyond, they’re designing robots and rovers that can navigate streets, slip beneath the sea, and even land on the moon.
No wonder the region recently landed a $63 million Build Back Better grant to expand its robotics and autonomous-technology industries. A corner of the country once famous for manufacturing the things that built America has reinvented itself and its future—and it could reinvent the nation once again.
But as uncertainties, inequities, and anxieties abound, what will it mean to thrive in this future, in this place? For educators, families, neighbors, and communities, what will it take to ensure that every learner has the tools and freedom to pursue their passions and dreams? And what will it take to build a more joyful, inclusive learning landscape—a place where every learner becomes the best of whoever they are?
These are the questions that, in 2007, got a group of educators and innovators wondering. Together over pancakes and coffee, their conversations about learning—about what’s relevant, what’s engaging, and what matters in a changing place like Pittsburgh—sparked a movement that would soon be known worldwide, garnering praise from President Obama, the World Economic Forum, and countless others.
Today, that movement celebrates 15 years of impact across southwestern Pennsylvania. And it does so by making a remarkable bet on the future.
Remake Learning is proud to announce more than 50 major commitments totaling nearly $100 million. These commitments mark a milestone in the network’s evolution: Having grown from a handful of people in 2007, Remake Learning now includes thousands of educators, researchers, artists, and others from more than 600 member organizations. Collectively, these commitments—from such industry partners as Argo AI, PNC, and Simcoach Games; such philanthropic partners as the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Grable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation; and such educational leaders as Carnegie Mellon University, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild—represent an unparalleled bet on tomorrow, with dozens of diverse and game-changing institutions going all-in to uplift the region’s learners.
Over the next few months alone:
- The Education Partnership commits $10 million to provide critical school supplies and classroom materials for more than 9,000 educators and 63,000 students.
- The Allegheny County Department of Children Initiatives will leverage $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support access to childcare for working families and to support early literacy programming for the county’s youngest learners.
- Trying Together commits $6.5 million to eliminate barriers to equity in early learning.
- The Andy Warhol Museum commits more than $2 million to transform a six-block section of the museum’s neighborhood into the “Pop District”—a thriving hub for cultural programming and creative workforce development.
Commitments like these build on the $100 million that Remake Learning and its members have already invested in the region. Rooted in Fred Rogers’ belief that learning happens everywhere, the network connects schools, libraries, museums, parks, and other sites of learning across greater Pittsburgh. In effect, the network has turned the region itself into a kind of campus—a “neighborhood” where students record music in libraries, educators work with gamers and designers, and scientists plan summer camps with museum curators. Through art, activism, making, and more, learners develop the skills and creativity to imagine—and build—better futures for themselves and their neighbors.
To that end, the commitments celebrating Remake Learning’s 15th anniversary support learning experiences that span everything from hiking and fishing to spaceships and robots. Among the commitments’ many highlights:
- Venture Outdoors will enroll more than 300 students in its Outdoor Learning Lab program. With Venture Outdoors providing gear and guidance, students will spend time learning outside all year long—kayaking, biking, snowshoeing, and more.
- Astrobotic’s Moonshot Museum will take students on immersive, simulated lunar missions to tackle real space challenges while exploring career opportunities in Pittsburgh’s burgeoning space industry.
- Simcoach Games will offer an apprenticeship program that gives young adults the technical and creative skills to pursue a career in video game design and production.
- The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania will train more than 1,200 volunteer mentors, equipping them to help young people feel known, recognized, cared for, and empowered.
In addition to celebrating 15 years of proven impact, commitments like these also affirm Remake Learning’s future. The network’s mission to spark engaging, relevant, equitable learning experiences—particularly for youth living in poverty, youth of color, girls interested in STEM, learners with disabilities, and rural learners—will expand and deepen in the months and years to come as new families, new neighbors, and new members join the movement to Remake Learning.
Here’s a full list of the commitments:
- The Allegheny Conference on Community Development will support partners in the Pittsburgh region who are investing in education and training tomorrow’s workforce.
- During the 2022-2023 school year, Allegheny County, through the Department of Children Initiatives, will support new early literacy programming opportunities for children 0-5 years old; equitable access to childcare for working families; the creation of new comprehensive out-of-school time program slots; and new, high-quality infant and toddler childcare slots in communities across Allegheny County.
- The Allegheny County Library Association will distribute bags through libraries and partner organizations to promote general awareness of the libraries and educate new parents/young families about the importance of early literacy.
- The Allegheny Intermediate Unit will:
- Provide professional learning for regional educators related to innovative educational practices to promote learner-centered instruction.
- Provide professional learning for educators to promote equity through a sense of belonging for the children of our region.
- Partner with Protohaven so that up to 150 children in alternative education can experience six sessions at the community makerspace.
- Use the Seesaw platform to improve communication with families and individualize learning for up to 1,400 preschool students.
- Partner with WQED Education to facilitate parent-child early learning interactions for up to 1,400 preschoolers.
- Partner with PNC Racial and Social Justice volunteers to increase financial literacy knowledge and practices for families and students enrolled in alternative education.
- Offer a vocational computer science class at Mon Valley with “A Day of Code” annual celebration.
- Create a “think tank” of vested partners to develop opportunities for futuristic thinking about educational systems.
- During the 2022-2023 school year, Argo AI will sponsor the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition in Pittsburgh — a 4-day event that, in prior years, included more than 2,000 high school students from across western and central Pennsylvania. Argo AI will also provide mentors for FIRST Robotics teams and sponsor a Mark Cuban Bootcamp in partnership with the Penn State Readiness Institute at the Energy Innovation Center for 40 high schoolers to obtain an introduction to artificial intelligence.
- Arts Ed Collaborative will increase the quantity, diversity, and connectivity of arts learning opportunities in Southwestern Pennsylvania by connecting over 100 schools and over 70 arts partners, as well as through professional learning and advocacy activities.
- Astrobotic will invite students to see Pittsburgh’s Mission Control Center and meet, talk with, and hear engaging presentations from space robotics engineers and other unexpected space industry professionals, including marketers and designers. Students will learn about rovers, problem solving, working with NASA, and more.
- BirdBrain Technologies will loan more than 1,000 Finch 2.0 robots and donate more than 250 Finch 1.0 robots to schools and libraries.
- The Birmingham Foundation will fund Hilltop organizations that support early learning.
- Bloomfield Robotics will teach technology entrepreneurship to high school students.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will engage children, teens, parents, and caregivers with innovative, hands-on STEAM learning experiences. By embedding STEAM learning and media mentorship into simple interactions with library staff, volunteers, and partner organizations, the library will ensure that such learning becomes integral to the experiences of children, teens, and caregivers.
- The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) will collaborate with the Remake Learning community through semester-long projects that focus on learning and civic engagement, offering at least one transformational project per semester alongside professional development opportunities, tours, and playtests with the department and its director of educational outreach.Together with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the ETC will also expand innovative learning opportunities through the ongoing creation and curation of exhibits, playtesting, professional development, and workshops, as well as the creation of new technologies.
- A publication, educational resources, partnerships, and outreach — along with expansive programming — will extend the reach of the 58th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art to include the region’s learners.
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Powdermill Nature Reserve will host programs for 25,000 kids and their caregivers to spark abounding awe for nature and to embrace humanity’s belonging and responsibility to the natural world.
- Carnegie Science Center will expand the reach of the museum by increasing the number of partnerships with local community organizations and taking hands-on science demonstrations to neighborhood events and celebrations.Over the next three years, the STEM Center at Carnegie Science Center will strategically align its core programs and tactics with a post-pandemic society. Redesigned programming will focus on growing STEM identity through culturally responsive and compounding experiences and developing a “wire frame” of programs, partnerships, and engagements. The STEM Center will:
- Partner with Carnegie Mellon University to co-create experiences that extend the physical, spatial, and temporal boundaries of the museum by increasing exhibit participation and impact learners locally and beyond.
- Engage directly with community stakeholders and develop a framework for evaluating programming based on cultural responsiveness, holistic potential to address social-emotional learning and STEM content knowledge, and adaptability to meet the unique needs of different communities.
- Expand mentoring and internship programs to increase access and opportunity to historically marginalized students in the region.
- Grow pre-K and early childhood experiences at the museum and in the community to build opportunities for inquiry, curiosity, and play with science content and concepts.
- Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will develop new partnerships with Pressley Ridge and Pittsburgh Public Schools to strengthen hands-on art and maker education opportunities for youth with multiple disabilities. In addition to participating in workshops at MuseumLab and in their classrooms, students will be invited to form a research-and-design cohort to prototype improvements to make museum experiences more accessible for disabled youth.
- The Consortium for Public Education will engage more than 1,000 educators and students across the region with professionals from business, post-secondary education, and community organizations to imagine and explore career pathways and develop relevant, future-focused skills. Through these experiences, the Consortium strives to prepare and equip all learners for success in their classrooms, careers, and lives.
- Carnegie Mellon University commits to co-developing educational interventions with communities of practice designed specifically to dismantle structural barriers to equity that pervade society.
- With the support of the Education Alliance, EQT will develop a curriculum that its employees can deliver into K-12 classrooms to teach students about natural gas and job pathways within the industry. EQT will also support education nonprofits that bring hands-on STEM learning to students.
- The Fred Rogers Institute will offer free, monthly learning opportunities for educators through its symposium series to highlight the integration of Fred Rogers’ principles into educator practice across formal and informal settings.
- Fred Rogers Productions will:
- Continue to showcase Pittsburgh youth and community educators and helpers in each nationally broadcast PBS KIDS episode of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
- Host, in partnership with PNC Grow Up Great, free Be My Neighbor Day events, encouraging family and community engagement in more than 35 markets around the country, including Pittsburgh with WQED.
- Create, with the Mentoring Partnership, “encouragement cards” that feature characters from various children’s series for use between mentors and mentees.
- Host, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, outdoor exploration events at three state parks inspired by the children’s program “Through the Woods.”
- Feature, with support from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, key early learning skills in traveling exhibits for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Donkey Hodie.”
- Host, in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the free Holiday Kidsplay learning space throughout the holiday season.
- The Grable Foundation will support enterprising and innovative public schools, out-of-school organizations, early learning centers, and other sites of learning that advance engaging, relevant, and equitable learning.
- Jefferson Regional Foundation will support a number of initiatives that promote innovation, creativity, and expanded learning opportunities.
- KnowledgeWorks will continue to promote several resources focused on the future of learning in the greater Pittsburgh region, surfacing perspectives from regional stakeholders. These resources include “Forging the Future of Learning: The Kids Have a Lot to Say,” “Forging Youth-Centered Futures: Bringing Youth Futures to Life,” and a six-episode youth takeover of the Remaking Tomorrow podcast focused on equitable and personalized learning. In addition, KnowledgeWorks will seek ways to support the spread of personalized learning in the greater Pittsburgh region in collaboration with the SWPA Personalized Learning Network and other partners.
- In addition to continuing its legacy of world-class arts training, MCG Youth will enhance its programming through a rigorous competency framework. MCG Youth will engage more than 400 youth and community members in a robust youth development initiative that expands the scope of the organization’s work to include personal and creative development, civic engagement, and college and career opportunities for every student that participates in our programming.
- Astrobotic’s Moonshot Museum will open its doors for a special Mission program that takes students on an immersive, simulated lunar mission to tackle real space industry challenges that professionals face every day.
- MSA Safety will support Nazareth Prep, an affordable independent career and college preparatory school based on the belief that every student — regardless of race, religion, or economic status — should have access to quality education. Funds will help support STEM education in a new, 35,000 square-foot science and activities building.MSA will also donate safety equipment as part of the MSA Construction Safety Lab, supporting future safety professionals in Slippery Rock University’s Safety Management program, one of the leading programs of its kind in the country.
- Partner4Work will provide high quality work-based learning opportunities for young adults during the school year and the summer; connect educators with information about in-demand workplace skills; and link businesses with schools to develop strong youth employment opportunities.
- Trust Arts Education will enrich the lives and education experience of more than 25,000 children, educators, and families with in-school and out-of-school residencies, workshops, and professional development opportunities. The Cultural Trust connects professional artists with schools and community organizations across the Pittsburgh region, including Allegheny and adjacent counties.
- The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy will:
- Invest in the revitalization of the five highest-need park spaces in the City of Pittsburgh as determined by its Equitable Investment Strategy.
- Engage 6,000 residents of all ages in playful, educational, and health-promoting outdoor public programming beyond the regional parks in spaces such as August Wilson Park, Allegheny Commons, McKinley Park, Mellon Park, and others.
- Serve 1,600 preK-12 students and their teachers through high-quality, multi-visit parks-based programs in partnership with local schools, community organizations, and out-of-school-time partners.
- Invest in professional development opportunities that allow educators to reach the whole child with empathy, kindness, and equity in mind.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation will increase the literacy rate in the Pittsburgh region through the Reading Champions program by providing classrooms with library books and literacy tools to ensure excellence in education. The foundation’s commitment for the 2022-23 school year will be to double its previous years’ commitment, increasing its reach and helping even more children strengthen their literacy skills.
- The Pittsburgh Technology Council will:
- Grow its L.A.U.N.C.H. program, its Leadership in STEM Program, and its STEM Summit.
- Expand the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference from a southwest Pennsylvania conference to a western Pennsylvania conference while also engaging more educational leadership.
- Through PNC Grow Up Great — a multi-year, bilingual initiative — PNC will continue to emphasize the importance of high-quality early childhood education in diverse and low- to moderate-income communities across the region. PNC helps families, educators, and community partners enhance learning and development in a child’s early years through a comprehensive, innovative approach that includes grant funding, employee volunteerism, awareness efforts, and issue advocacy.
- The Richard King Mellon Foundation will fund organizations and programs that support children and youth’s educational attainment, development of career readiness-skills, and engagement in supportive relationships that nurture learning. Through its 2021-2030 strategy, the foundation intends to create opportunities for children and youth to access their most promising futures.
- Simcoach Games will administer a Registered Pre-apprenticeship in Game Design and Development for students 17 years old and older.
- SLB Radio will launch a new afterschool and Saturday program for teens in its Youth Media Center.
- The Education Partnership will provide critical school supplies and classroom materials for more than 9,000 educators and their 63,000 students throughout 171 under-resourced schools throughout Southwestern PA.
- The Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents will ensure that the educational programming for western Pennsylvania school superintendents is future-focused and student-centered to ensure equitable access to engaging learning experiences for all students.
- The Frick Pittsburgh will offer engaging programs in art, history and nature to 3,000 students per year, free of charge. Through inquiry-based dialogue and art-centered learning, the Frick will host programs that strengthen students’ critical thinking and resiliency, spark curiosity, and empower them to express their thoughts and ideas both in the classroom and in the community.
- The Mentoring Partnership will:
- Conduct at least two Relationship-Centered Schools pilots in Allegheny County and Westmoreland County to help schools be more intentional about creating relationship-rich environments throughout their buildings and districts.
- Conduct the first pilot of the FIERY (Finding and Igniting Enriching Relationships for Youth) online mentoring platform with at least 20 young people and 20 caring adult mentors to fuel the future of mentoring in innovative ways, reaching kids and adult volunteers where they are and on their own terms.
- Train at least 1,200 volunteer mentors and Everyday Mentors so they are equipped to support young people, helping them feel known, recognized, cared for and empowered.
- Deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to at least 75 adult volunteers and work with key partners to facilitate community discussions around the role of strong relationships in supporting youth mental health and well-being.
- Draft and deliver weekly Everyday Mentoring tips to more than 500 caring adults across the country and world who have opted in to receive information on how they can make the most of their relationships with young people.
- The Andy Warhol Museum’s Learning and Public Engagement department and the Warhol: Workforce (part of The Pop District, a major new cultural and economic development project, spearheaded by the museum), will invest more than $2 million to transform a six-block section of the museum’s neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Shore into a thriving hub for expansive cultural programming and creative workforce development. This initiative will enable the museum to design and implement youth-centered programs that cultivate a range of 21st century skills and social emotional learning outcomes, including creativity, critical thinking, connectivity, collaboration, self-awareness, intercultural competence, tactical skills, and career readiness.
- Trying Together is committed to ensuring equity is put into early learning practice and policies. This year, it will facilitate learning experiences for educators to grow in their anti-racist and anti-bias teaching practices. It will also work to address systemic barriers and policies that have historically created inequities in the early learning field.
- The University of Pittsburgh School of Education will work to ensure that the education leadership programs at the University prepare school and district leaders to courageously champion equitable, future-focused learning in the region’s schools.
- Venture Outdoors will enroll more than 300 Pittsburgh students in its Outdoor Learning Lab program, which will help connect youth to outdoor learning, exploration, and play. Students will spend time outside on a weekly basis all year long, engaging in kayaking, biking, fishing, hiking, outdoor skills, snowshoeing, environmental science, engineering, and more. Venture Outdoors commits to removing the barriers to these outdoor experiences by providing gear and guidance, enabling youth to access the critical mental and physical health wellness benefits of time spent outside.